THE BEST INVENTIONS OF 2022
Human-Free Freight Delivery
Gatik Driverless Box Trucks
November 10, 2022
Swift Navigation Raises $100 Million Series D Financing Round to Bring Safe and Precise Navigation to Every Vehicle on the Planet
October 18, 2022
Swift Navigation, a San Francisco-based tech firm redefining GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and precise positioning technology for automotive ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) and autonomy, industrial machine control, commercial transportation, mobile and emerging mass-market applications, today announced that it has completed a $100 million financing round.
Autonomous Trucking Startup Gatik Is Ditching the Driver in Canada
October 5, 2022
Gatik will let the robots take control on a 7-mile delivery route it runs for grocery giant Loblaw, Canada’s largest retailer. San Francisco tourists, Phoenix suburbanites and now Canadian bacon — the list of driverless cargo keeps growing.
Invisible AI Raises $15 Million Series A to Rapidly Scale Innovative Computer Vision Platform Across Manufacturing Facilities
September 28, 2022
Invisible AI, a leader in state-of-the-art AI solutions for manufacturing, today announced the close of a $15 million Series A funding round, bringing the company's total amount raised to $21 million. New investor Van Tuyl Companies (VTC) led the round with participation from new investor FM Capital and existing investors 8VC, Sierra Ventures, K9 Ventures and Vest Coast Capital.
Factorial Energy to Open New Solid-State EV Battery Development and Manufacturing Facility in Methuen, Mass.
August 25, 2022
Factorial Energy (Factorial), an industry leader in the development of solid-state battery technology for electric vehicle (EV) applications, today announced it will establish a new advanced manufacturing facility in the Boston suburb of Methuen, Mass. The new facility will produce Factorial’s innovative new solid-state battery cell technology for EVs.
FM Capital Adds Joe Hinrichs, Former Ford President, as Venture Partner
August 15, 2022
To better serve its expanding number of automotive-related portfolio companies and in preparation for its fourth fund, FM Capital has added Joe Hinrichs as Venture Partner. Hinrichs was most recently President of Ford Motor Company’s global automotive business.
FM Capital Bolsters Senior Leadership Team
August 1, 2022
To better serve its expanding number of portfolio companies and in preparation for its fourth fund, FM Capital is bolstering its senior leadership team with the addition of a Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer and the advancement of a Senior Associate to Principal.
Gatik’s autonomous Class 6 trucks replacing big rigs in Texas operation
June 7, 2022
Gatik, which has been running self-driving pilot programs with Walmart and other companies, announced Tuesday that its technology will be used on linehaul routes previously served by KBX Logistics’ 53-foot trailers. KBX is a partner of Gatik’s in the program, which is taking place in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Tekion rolls out CRM and digital retail capabilities
April 11, 2022
Tekion has expanded its product lineup, launching a new customer relationship management system and digital retailing platform. The dealership management system startup introduced Automotive Enterprise Cloud, which will power some of General Motors' digital retailing initiatives.
Robot Yard Trucks and Remote-Controlled Forklifts to the Rescue
February 04, 2022
With millions in funding, Phantom Auto and Outrider Technologies plan to deploy thousands of machines in the coming years to help ease labor shortages. Elon Musk had some thoughts about robots during Tesla’s most recent earnings call. He predicted Tesla’s humanoid bot, known as Optimus among employees, could turn out to be more significant than the company’s electric cars.
Superpedestrian gets $125M to expand tech that corrects unsafe scooter riding
February 01, 2022
Shared e-scooter company Superpedestrian is gearing up to deploy its Pedestrian Defense safety system at scale, a feature that allows the company’s e-scooters to detect and correct in real-time unsafe riding behaviors, like riding on sidewalks or the wrong way down a one-way street.
Stellantis, Mercedes-Benz Invest In Solid-State Battery Developer Factorial Energy
November 30, 2021
Factorial Energy, a startup working on solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, has added two more major automakers to its investor sheet: Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis, both of which plan to co-develop batteries in separate joint collaboration agreements. Mercedes, a brand of Daimler AG, said it invested a “double-digit million dollar” amount in Factorial.
Hyundai, Kia Partner With Factorial Energy On Solid-State Battery Tech
October 28, 2021
Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Corp. announced a partnership Thursday with Factorial Energy, a Massachusetts-based developer of solid-state battery technology. The joint development agreement, which includes an undisclosed investment by the South Korean automaker, Hyundai and Kia will integrate Factorial’s technology into the cell, module and system levels of future vehicles.
Tekion, the automotive retail platform headed by a former Tesla CIO, just tripled in value
October 5, 2021
A year ago, we told you about the opportunity that former Tesla CIO Jay Vijayan was chasing. His plan? To pull car dealers into the 21st century with a snazzy end-to-end automotive SaaS platform like the one he helped develop inside Tesla. Customers could use it to order a car to their precise specifications; dealers could use it to see in real time to understand their inventory and seamlessly check in customers for service appointments.
How This Shell-Backed Unicorn Is Rewiring Transit In Key Cities Like Miami And Los Angeles
September 30, 2021
While services like Uber built businesses that compete with cities’ transportation networks, Via sees a lucrative niche catering to—and working with—municipalities.
Gatik expands autonomous box truck operations to Texas with $85M in new funds
August 31, 2021
In the two years since Gatik AI came out of stealth, the autonomous vehicle startup has launched pilots with Walmart and Canadian retail giant Loblaw in its bid to prove that self-driving technology combined with box trucks is the secret economic sauce for hauling goods short distances. Now, the company is expanding into Texas — its fourth market — with a fresh bundle of capital.
Privacy4Cars Closes Series A Investment
August 17, 2021
Privacy4Cars announced that it closed a Series A investment. The round was led by First Move Capital (FM Capital) with additional investment from Automotive Ventures. This marks the first institutional investors’ fundraise effort for Privacy4Cars, which has quickly become the industry standard for vehicle data deletion.
ZF Uses Autotalks’ V2X Chipset for Connectivity
August 2, 2021
Vehicles are more and more connected to other vehicles, road infrastructure, pedestrians, and data centers. Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication technology not only increases safety but also improves traffic and transportation efficiency. ZF Group announced it has integrated Autotalks’ V2X chipsets in its 2getthere autonomous shuttles. Initial deployment is planned in a large European airport.
Outrider Offers Autonomous Tractor-Trailer Hitching Capability
July 27, 2021
Outrider Inc., a provider of autonomous yard trucks for logistics hubs, today said it is the first company to offer advanced, automated tractor-trailer hitching capabilities. This patent-pending technology is now available as part of the Outrider System, which automates distribution yards for large enterprises.
June 16, 2021
Roughly 10 billion tons of freight move through supply chains in the US each year, almost all of which pass through distribution yards – the area of the supply chain between the warehouse and the open road. Andrew Smith, Outrider founder and CEO, has dedicated his career to the commercialization of environmental technologies.
FM Capital steps up automotive investments with new $150 million fund
May 27, 2021
First Move Capital, the Boulder-based venture firm that has invested in used car marketplaces Frontier Auto Group and Vroom as well as mobility-as-a-service startup Via, has closed a new $150 million fund that will focus on the automotive and transportation sectors.
Indigo Tech Raises Capital, Adds Leadership, and Announces Partnership to Deliver Ultraefficient EVs
May 24, 2021
Indigo Technologies, a lightweight electric vehicle OEM, founded by MIT professor Ian Hunter, and inventor of the world's first robotic wheel with integrated electric suspension and propulsion, announces the company has closed additional funding, now exceeding $110 million in total capital raised.
AUTOPAY and DigniFi Partner to Help Drivers Save Money Through Refinancing
May 12, 2021
AUTOPAY, a platform for new car loans and auto refinancing, and DigniFi, an automotive financing platform, today announced a partnership to help drivers reduce their monthly car payments. AUTOPAY will offer refinancing options to drivers who have improved their credit by making timely payments on auto service financing and other financial products offered through DigniFi.
Outrider CEO: ‘Yard of the future’ is autonomous and electric
April 27, 2021
Trucks idling in lines to check in at distribution centers due to inefficient yard operations have no place in the “yard of the future,” Andrew Smith, CEO and founder of Outrider, told FreightWaves. In this future yard, electric trucks autonomously and efficiently reshuffle and move trailers from one place to another.
Indigo Introduces an EV Built for the Gig Economy
March 10, 2021
Weight is one of the biggest killers of electric-vehicle range. The average sticker price for an EV in the U.S. is over $50,000 and the average weight is 4,000 lbs. — a ratio that necessitates 95% of the electricity for most trips to be used to transport the car’s own mass.
Gatik Electrifies Autonomous Fleet, Explains Path to Profitability
February 17, 2021
Gatik, an autonomous technology company specializing in B2B short-haul logistics, announced its electrification strategy with the introduction of the industry’s first electric box trucks equipped with autonomous technology. The first of these new trucks are on Ford Transit 350 HD chassis with an electric powertrain from Via Motors Inc. The first three will deploy for Walmart in New Orleans in February.
Fleets and EVs Could Pose Greatest Cyber Risk, Says GuardKnox
January 12, 2021
Connected Fleets and EVs could be at the biggest risk of future mass infrastructure cyber hacks that automakers will have to gear up to prevent.
That’s the view of Moshe Shlisel, CEO of cyber-security specialist GuardKnox who points out that these automotive sectors have become important parts of a nation state’s core infrastructure.
Walmart will use fully driverless trucks to make deliveries in 2021
December 15, 2020
Walmart will use fully autonomous box trucks to make deliveries in Arkansas starting in 2021. The big-box retailer has been working with a startup called Gatik on a delivery pilot for 18 months. Next year, the two companies plan on taking their partnership to the next level by removing the safety driver from their autonomous box trucks.
Meet The Startup That Has Raised $118M To Automate Critical Distribution Yards
December 1, 2020
Imagine passing a colorful, logo-laden semi-trailer on the highway, as it heads back from a large retail supermarket chain to a massive distribution yard located outside a warehouse. Once it enters the yard, the truck, alongside hundreds of others, must quickly unload crates, empty cardboard boxes and leftover food, reload more product and hit the road again.
Mayor Fulop hails Via as “Jersey City success story”
November 30, 2020
Mayor Steven M. Fulop announces New Jersey’s first municipal-subsidized, on-demand shared ride service, Via Jersey City, is a major success for the community, breaking records in ridership and exceeding the city’s goals of effectively closing transit deserts in communities that need it most.
Gatik’s Self-Driving Delivery Vans Head North to Canada
November 23, 2020
Gatik has begun hauling cargo for Loblaws Inc., Canada’s largest grocer. The company joins Walmart on Gatik’s small but impressive list of clients. The steady scaling of the business has also won a $25 million round of investment at an undisclosed valuation, a deal that highlights an important incongruity in the self-driving sector: The most pragmatic — seemingly least ambitious — missions are making the most progress.
Approaching commercialization, Lunewave raises $7 million
November 23, 2020
Lunewave, the Arizona-based startup developing a novel technology for radars for autonomous vehicles, has raised $7 million in financing as it gets ready for the commercial rollout of its systems.
GM, Motorq Unveil System to Streamline Fleet Order-to-Delivery
November 18, 2020
“We can track a $20 pizza, why can’t we track a $20,000 car?” The question came up in a conversation between Arun Rajagopalan, cofounder and CEO of Motorq, and a fleet management company in late 2019. It referenced the pain points in the lifecycle of a vehicle before it lands in the hands of its end user.
Rajagopalan explains the series of phone calls between the factory, car carrier, dealer, fleet management company, or fleet operator...
Outrider reins in $65 million to automate distribution yards
October 28, 2020
The freight industry is inching closer to electrification and autonomy, and much of the action is taking place in the distribution yard. Among the beneficiaries is Outrider, a startup that automates yard operations for logistics hubs. On Wednesday, the Golden, Colorado-based company announced it had closed $65 million in Series B funding. Koch Disruptive Technologies led the round, with participation from existing investors NEA, 8VC and Prologis Ventures.
Motional partners with Via to launch a robo-taxi service in the U.S.
October 27, 2020
Motional, a joint self-driving research collaboration between Aptiv and Hyundai, today announced a partnership with Via that the companies say will serve as a blueprint for an on-demand, shared robo-taxi service. Ahead of the partnership’s launch in the first half of 2021, Motional and Via say they will build infrastructure to connect Motional’s driverless vehicles with Via’s technology that powers booking, routing, passenger and vehicle assignment and identification, customer experience, and fleet management.
Driverless middle-mile deliveries could begin by next summer
October 23, 2020
Sam Saad, head of operations for Gatik, an autonomous vehicle startup, explained during a fireside chat Friday as part of FreightWaves’ Cold Chain Summit, that the company could have driverless vehicles on roadways by next summer. Speaking with Kevin Hill, director of research and editorial for FreightWaves, Saad said that fully autonomous vehicles might be on the road “before summer rolls around next year.”
Ex-Tesla CIO’s Auto Retail Startup Turns Unicorn in New Funding
October 21, 2020
Tekion Corp., a cloud-based automotive retail startup founded by a former Tesla Inc. executive, has raised $150 million from backers led by private equity investor Advent International, lifting its valuation to over $1 billion. The four-year-old startup, whose cloud software connects manufacturers, dealers and car buyers on a retail platform, drew investments from Index Ventures, Airbus Ventures, FM Capital and Exor.
Aurora Labs raises $23 million to automatically detect bugs in car codebases
September 22, 2020
Connected car analytics startup Aurora Labs today raised $23 million, bringing its total raised to $34 million. Notably, the capital comes after Porsche SE expanded its investment in Aurora to $2.5 million, which gave the automaker a "low single-digit" percentage stake in the startup.
RAVIN.AI lands Fraser McCombs-led investment, announces GM for Americas
August 13, 2020
RAVIN.AI, a developer of vehicle inspection technologies, recently announced an investment round led by Fraser McCombs Capital, while also bringing on auto industry executive Jim O’Brien as its Americas general manager.
The company said in a news release it plans on using the funding round for North American growth and to further develop its platform.
Walmart’s self-driving partner is changing e-commerce economics
June 19, 2020
For a self-driving vehicle startup, Gatik has an odd mantra: don’t agonize over autonomy, worry about delivery. Specifically, the three-year-old company is focused on so-called middle-mile delivery, the oft-overlooked leg between when, say, a sweater is trucked across the country and when it is ferried over the last few miles and dropped on someone’s porch.
GuardKnox Rolls Out New ‘Cybertech Tier’ Vehicle Supply Chain Category
May 19, 2020
To bring about the next generation of service-oriented and software-defined automobiles, computing solutions provider GuardKnox has rolled out a new category on the worldwide vehicle supply chain called the Cybertech Tier. The move comes as the firm says non-traditional tech firms are changing the definition of the traditional supply chain to bolster vehicle innovation, according to an announcement.
Online used-car seller Vroom files for a June initial public offering
May 10, 2020
Online used-car seller Vroom Inc. is set to go public, according to a Wall Street Journal report today that the company has filed paperwork for a possible June initial public offering. Founded in 2013, Vroom pitches itself as an e-commerce platform designed to offer a better way to buy and sell used vehicles. The company employs “data-driven technology” to bring “all phases of the vehicle buying and selling process to buyers wherever they are.”
Optimus Ride pivots role of autonomous vehicles during COVID-19
April 14, 2020
Like many autonomous vehicle companies, Boston-based Optimus Ride paused its autonomous operations at customer sites due to COVID-19. The MIT spin-off is doing its part to observe social distancing and help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. One of the places it paused operations was at Paradise Valley Estates (PVE), a retirement community for people ages 55-plus in Fairfield, Calif. Optimus Ride offers a point-to-point service for PVE residents within the gated community.